Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Breakin' It Down With Dr. Dilfer: Robert Griffin III

The Ph.D of Pocket Passing

 Our beloved Washington Redskins will be selecting near the top of the Draft come next April, and it is no secret that the biggest hole they need to fill is at the quarterback position.  Redskins Nation, whether it’s the team or the devoted fan base, cannot afford to enter another season with Rex Grossman and John Beck duking it out at the top of the depth chart.  This year’s draft class is projected to be one of the deepest in recent memory as far as quarterbacks are concerned, headlined of course by projected number 1 overall pick Andrew Luck, USC’s Matt Barkley, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, Arizona’s Nick Foles, and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones.  Everyone and their mother expect the Redskins to select a quarterback with their first round pick, hell if Matt Millen was the Redskins GM, even he would select a quarterback.  Seeing as Luck will be off the board after the Colts select number one, it makes the most sense to delve into the remaining quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft Pool. 

However, we are just amateur bloggers, and when it comes to football the only thing we are good at are watching it, criticizing the professionals, and cracking wise. Therefore who better to help breakdown the nation’s top quarterback prospects than ESPN’s Trent Dilfer? I know your instinct is to stop reading and go back to whatever you were doing, but in the words of John Lennon, “Give Trent a chance!”  What Dilfer lacked in physical abilities as a quarterback he made up for with his cerebral approach to the game.  Dilfer has become one of the top NFL analysts on television especially when it comes to breaking down the quarterback position.  He has mastered the art of analyzing and dissecting the intricacies of playing quarterback, while keeping it in laymen’s terms for all of us to understand; sort of.  Therefore we have enlisted the Quarterback Guru Trent Dilfer to help us breakdown this year’s crop of signal callers.  And by helping us breakdown we mean reading his tweets (@TDESPN) and translating them so we all can all get a better idea on who the Redskins will be looking at in April.

Today’s prospect is Heisman Trophy Winner Robert Griffin III out of Baylor.

Trent Says: #filmstudy CFB QB style, spent all day studying RGIII. Love what this kid has in the tank! Superb athlete that is comfortable in the pocket.

Battle of the Beltway Says: OK, so according to Trent, Griffin is very athletic which when translated from college to the NFL tends to mean he is not the greatest passer/quarterback.  However, RGIII IS a great passer and is poised in the pocket.

@TDESPN: #filmstudy RGIII: Excellent Arm Talent & able to change tempo of his throws while maintaining a high level of accuracy. Can #ripit

BOTB: Griffin has a strong arm and is able to throw it with some mustard, but he can also loft it with touch when he needs to.  Griffin is an accurate passer regardless of how much zip he is putting on the ball.  “#RipIt” is a Dliferism that has gotten us a little confused. Does this mean RGIII can chuck it a long ways? Or does it mean he has a very weak stomach and tends to have bad gas? I think #ripit is a little from column A and a little from column B; RGII uses his flatulence to get that extra zip on the ball. 

@TDESPN: #filmstudy RGIII: INCREDIBLE deep ball accuracy! 7 games studied today and 14 #DIMES on the long ball. Kid can locate on the deep stuff.

BOTB: RGIII is accurate when he throws the ball deep down field.  How do we know this? Because Trent watched seven of RGIII’s games in which he threw 14 perfect deep balls. “#DIMES” is Trent’s jargan (Dilferism) for when a quarterback throws a deep ball accurately and drops it in the wide receiver’s hands. Griffin sees well down field and is able to use his accurate arm to create big plays for his team.  Or we could be completely wrong and Trent was analyzing RGIII’s work in the bedroom. 

@TDESPN: #filmstudy RGIII: Quick & compact release w/suddenness in his body allows him to play w/bodies near buy. Have to have this to play well in NFL.

BOTB:  Thanks to Griffin's quick release he is able to get the ball out timely and accurately even when the defense is closing in on him.  This will benefit RGIII in the NFL, especially if the Redskins draft him.  The Redskins can promise three things: a fat signing bonus (rookie slotting system be damned), a rabid fan base, and minimal protection from the offensive line.

@TDESPN: #filmstudy RGIII: Uses his athleticism to extend play and improvise, but doesn't abandon the pocket too soon. Obviously been trained well.

BOTB: One of the biggest knocks on mobile quarterbacks when they come out of college is that they rely too heavily on their mobility and tend to leave the pocket and look to run too soon (i.e. before going through their progressions).  Griffin uses his speed and agility to keep the play alive and allow his receivers to get free from their defenders.  No matter how good defensive backs in the NFL are, it is hard for any of them to stay with professional wide receivers for an extended amount of time (just ask any DB who has faced the Denver Tebows, err I mean Broncos lately).  RGIII has been coached to use his speed and mobility as a safety net and not as an end-all-be-all.

@TDESPN: #filmstudy RGIII: Is very accurate from multiple foot platforms. Common trait with the BEST QB's in the NFL, no guarantee of clean pockets.

BOTB: RGIII does not lose his accuracy when he is wearing platform shoes.  Apparently the Best QB’s in the league can do this, but I’ve never seen Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady in a pair of Spice Girl Boots. I guess we will just have to take the Ph.D of Pocket Passing’s word here.
@TDESPN: #filmstudy RGIII: Only challenge I see translating to next level is common to most spread QB's, they throw mostly to primary rec. #pick&stick

BOTB: The Spread Offense is the system Florida ran with Tebow and Urban Meyer, and has become very popular in the college game.  This scheme has not translated very well over to the pros for the simple fact that defenses are much faster and their ability to read plays is far more advanced than at the college level.  Typical problems Spread QB’s struggle with when starting off in the NFL are center-to-quarterback exchanges (HUT! HUT! HIKE!) and the instinct to focus on the primary receiver.  The Dilferism for this is the “pick and stick”, it’s pretty easy to understand: pick your receiver and stick with him throughout the play.  In the NFL defensive players will read a quarterback’s eyes and if he never averts his gaze on a receiver, you can bet the defense will realize this and thwart the play.  In the NFL, RGIII will have to be able to read plays and not isolate one receiver. 

@TDESPN: #filmstudy RGIII:I am hearing from very reliable people that he has tremendous FB IQ & a thirst to be great. If true could become a #surgeon

BOTB: FB IQ means Face and Breasticles Intelligence and he will be forgoing his senior year of college to enter med school to become a plastic surgeon.  

Correction: RGIII is a very smart football player and has the focus and drive to be great.  He truly wants to be a great NFL quarterback and has the work ethic to get there.  “Surgeon” is a Dilferism for quarterbacks who slice and dice up defenses with precision.  

@TDESPN: #filmstudy RGIII:Puts on a deep ball clinic (teaching tape) vs KSU including one of the BEST throws iv's seen all year. #DIME to Wright

BOTB: Pretty self explanatory, but if it isn’t enough here is the video. Skip ahead to :36 mark.

@TDESPN: #filmstudy RGIII:Kid makes a throw vs A&M where he flicks it 50 yards in air, WHILE HE IS IN THE AIR! #sick jump pass 50 yards, WOW

BOTB: The last time Trent Dilfer was this excited was when Sean Salisbury left ESPN.  We couldn’t find the video of this pass, but it sounds nasty. Here is a highlight reel that should suffice.

So after further dissection and a few more Dilferisms, we have come to a conclusion:  Robert Griffin III is the real deal.  He is a little shorter than most NFL GM’s would like, but then again so is Drew Brees.  RGIII is accurate, has a strong arm, and is fast and athletic to boot.  He looks like a legitimate NFL star and a quarterback that would look great in the Burgundy and Gold.

Next: Breakin’ it Down with Dr. Dilfer: Matt Barkley

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